Spring 2015 Issue

Alann D. Dingle, Ph.D.


            Ethical and legal issues arise frequently for all psychologists, whether they are involved in teaching, research, consultation, or direct provision of psychological services.  Psychologists in California have access to many resources on ethical and legal issues, available from our national, state, and local professional associations, as well as from the California Board of Psychology.  Here is an outline of such resources.


Ethical Issues

American Psychological Association (APA) (  APA’s Ethics Office offers educational workshops, seminars and resources on various topics in ethics.  APA also has various directorates, including the Practice Directorate, with information about research, legal concerns, and clinical issues. Three resources that are extremely useful are  the Ethics Code, available ethics articles by Stephen Behnke, JD, Ph.D., Director of APA Ethics Office, and  the Practice Guidelines.

            The Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct are standards that members of our profession must follow. The Code includes sections on clinical practice, research, and publication.

            The Professional Practice Guidelines are designed to guide psychologists in practice regarding particular roles, populations or settings; they are supported by the current scholarly literature but do not focus upon specific disorders or treatments.

·       Guidelines for the Practice of Telepsychology

·       Guidelines for the Practice of Parenting Coordination

·       Record Keeping Guidelines

·       Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Girls and Women

·       Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Lesbian, Gay & Bisexual Clients

·       Guidelines for Assessment and Intervention with Persons with Disabilities

·       Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Older Adults

·       Guidelines for Psychological Practice in Health Care Delivery Systems

·       Practice Parameters: Screening and Diagnosis of Autism

·       Guidelines for the Evaluation of Dementia and Age-Related Cognitive Change

·       Guidelines for Child Custody Evaluations in Family Law Proceedings

·       Guidelines on Multicultural Education, Training, Research, Practice and Organizational Change for Psychologists

·       Practice Guidelines Regarding Psychologists’ Involvement in Pharmacological Issues

·       Guidelines for Psychological Evaluations in Child Protection Matters

·       Guidelines for Test User Qualifications

·       Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychology

·       Guidelines for Prevention Psychology

Ethics consultations are available through APA for members only.

            California Psychological Association (CPA) ( The CPA Ethics Committee offers educational workshops and resource articles written by ethics committee members.  Ethics matters are also frequent topics in CPA’s eight specialty divisions, its bi-weekly electronic newsletter, Progress Notes, and the Expertise Series, which are articles on specialized topics and are available to members of Division I (Clinical and Professional Practice). Ethics consultations are available through CPA for members only.

            LACPA (  The LACPA Ethics Committee offers educational workshops and an ongoing column in the Los Angeles Psychologist.  Ethics consultations are available by calling the LACPA office. 

Legal Issues

California Board of Psychology (BOP) (  The California BOP protects the safety and welfare of consumers of psychological services.  The BOP also provides information about Laws and Regulations, including recent legislation, new approved regulations, and proposed regulations.

            The 2012 Laws and Regulations book contains provisions from the California Business and Professions Code, Penal Code, Welfare and Institutions Code, Evidence Code, Civil Code, Family Code, Health and Safety Code, and California Code of Regulations (